What’s the Difference Between fdisk and parted

Difference Between fdisk and parted

Disk partitioning is an essential task in Linux system administration. It involves dividing a physical disk into logical sections called partitions. The two most common Linux disk partitioning utilities are fdisk and parted. Though they achieve the same end goal, these tools have some key differences in their features, usage, performance, and compatibility that impact how and when they are used.

Table of Contents

Understanding fdisk

fdisk is a classic disk partitioning utility that has been a core Linux component for decades . It allows creating, deleting, resizing, and managing both primary and logical partitions. fdisk has a simple text-based user interface and works on disks using either the MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table) partitioning schemes. Key features of fdisk:

  • Supports only basic partition table operations
  • Limited to working with 2 TiB disks on MBR systems
  • Does not align partitions to optimal locations for best performance

fdisk usage follows a standard workflow of selecting a disk, creating and deleting partitions, setting partition types, writing the table to disk, and exiting. Common fdisk commands are p (print), n (new), d (delete), t (change type), w (write), and q (quit) .

Understanding parted

parted is an advanced disk partitioning utility in Linux capable of performing more complex operations. It supports working with larger disks and handles both MBR and GPT partition tables. parted has options for resizing, copying, checking, aligning, and managing partitions not possible in fdisk . Key features of parted:

  • Supports advanced partition alignment and optimization
  • Can work on larger disks up to 8 ZiB
  • Includes features like interactive mode, undo, and check

parted usage has more versatility than fdisk with support for scripting operations. Some common parted commands are mkpart (make partition), rm (remove), resizepart, align-check, and check . parted also uses unit designations like MiB, GiB versus fdisk’s cylinder concept.

Comparing fdisk and parted

Feature fdisk parted
Partition table support MBR, GPT MBR, GPT, DASD, MAC
Max disk size 2 TiB (MBR)
8 ZiB (GPT)
8 ZiB
Alignment No Yes
Usage Interactive CLI Interactive CLI and scripting
Compatibility Most Linux distros Variable compatibility

Some additional differences:

  • Usage and interface – fdisk has a simpler, new user friendly interface while parted is more complex but versatile .
  • Compatibility – fdisk is supported across most Linux distributions while parted has some compatibility issues with certain distros, filesystems, and disk labels.

Performance and Compatibility

For optimal performance, alignment of partitions to cylinder boundaries is recommended. parted has built-in features for checking and fixing alignment issues which fdisk lacks.

In some cases, fdisk and parted may be incompatible with certain disk labels like Sun, mac, dvh, and dasd. This can lead to partition table corruption if not careful. They also behave differently with certain filesystems like HFS .

User Experiences and Preferences

In community forums and discussions, fdisk is generally recommended for beginners and basic disk partitioning tasks. Its simple interactive workflow makes it fast and easy to work with.

parted has proven more reliable for advanced users, especially when working with larger disks, exotic setups, or non-standard configurations. It takes more effort to learn but offers greater control for tricky partitioning needs.

Factors that influence whether to use fdisk vs parted include disk size, partition alignment importance, Linux distro compatibility, and user skill level.

Conclusion

While fdisk and parted both partition disks, parted is designed for more advanced tasks. fdisk is simpler and widely compatible making it a good fit for basic MBR/GPT needs. parted supports larger disks, alignment, and flexibility for complex setups. Understanding their key differences allows matching the right tool to the partitioning job at hand. When in doubt, fdisk makes a good starting point while parted offers more control.

Marshall Anthony is a professional Linux DevOps writer with a passion for technology and innovation. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, he has become a go-to expert for anyone looking to learn more about Linux.

Related Posts